As most of you are likely busy planning and strategizing for 2013, I want to plant an idea. When you think about offshoring, your first idea will likely be ‘ah, low costs’. But is this really the case and is it the most important reason for putting offshoring or nearshoring on your agenda for 2013?
Three weeks back I visited our Indian office together with one of our customers. We had a great time and thanks to the flights and shared hotel, we discussed a lot. One of the main things he mentioned is that actually, offshoring is not about costs. The thing he couldn’t see clearly before they started working with us (he said he choose us because we have a good story J), is that the benefits for him are not (only) costs. Although it is cheaper to hire someone from India, there are three things that strike him.
First of all, he gets highly talented programmers, which are hard to come across in the Netherlands. He had plenty of time to speak with Hari, his main php programmer and realized that he’s a smart guy. Sometimes, doing all the works through skype on a distance, makes us overlook this fact. Communication barriers block us from seeing the real value in the person, so meeting up in personal is essential for longer term success.
Secondly, he’s got a flexibility that he’d never get with employees locally. Now this flexibility may differ per supplier, but in general it is much easier to stop a contract with our offshore developer than it is with a local employee. Connected to this is the third aspect, scalability. This client is launching a new software product. Investment in the beginning has to be modest, but once it starts picking up, he needs more developers to scale. In India it’s a lot easier to find developers than in the Netherlands, so we could ramp up the team within short notice.
Those are the business motives. The last motive that I think is sometimes overlooked: it’s fun. Most people like travelling, meeting people from other countries, exploring new territories. We do this every year going on vacations. So why not combine business with the nicer aspects of life? The time I spent with my customer in India was great as if I went on holidays with a friend. They also enjoyed India and were inspired by the possibilities and movement of India.
I would suggest you put offshoring on your agenda for 2013 and give it a try! Start with one or two programmers that you select yourself, get experience in building the right global communication routines and extend the team once you see that it works for you.